"With an MVP you are able to focus on the functions that you actually need."

Mark van der Ploeg, CPO

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Kickstart your ecommerce platform with an MVP

5 tips based on issues in practice

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This is how you give a kickstart to your ecommerce platform

Why would you still choose for an RFP (Request For Proposal) while you can also choose for an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)? An RFP is a wish list of all the functionalities that you would like to have; you think there is a need for this among end users, but you are not sure. With an MVP you put it to test in a real setting. You immediately launch a platform of value and discover which functionalities are really needed by end users.

Go for an MVP (and not an RFP)

You can compare an MVP with a canoe in which you slowly work towards a speedboat and ultimately a yacht. The MVP has the most important function, namely sailing, but the later versions are slightly more luxurious, faster or require less energy. In short; an MVP version of your ecommerce platform gives you the core functions, but without the bells and whistles. With these core functions, you have to make sure that your platform is reliable (no bugs, no disappointment), user-friendly (simple user interface) and has a great user experience; this ensures that visitors return.

With an MVP you are able to focus on the functions that you actually need, which often differ from the requirements that you would have set in your RFP. With an MVP you will come into contact with practice much sooner: real customers and a continuous feedback loop. Since you receive feedback at an early stage, you shorten the lead time and speed up the implementation of your B2B ecommerce platform.

So an MVP is the way to go, but in practice mistakes are often made that can thwart the successful launch of an MVP. Fortunately, as a technical partner, we have years of experience in the development of MVP B2B ecommerce platforms and we know what obstacles you may encounter.

5 tips for an MVP B2B ecommerce platform

1. Direct communication
Sometimes it seems the right choice to add more people to your ecommerce project. More expertise, more people, more insights. However, this ensures that communication can deteriorate; the more people, the more lines of communication. Try to keep the team as small as possible so that direct communication is easy. In addition, it is important to ensure that your UX and development team are directly connected to the customer. For example, let navigation information such as heat maps, internal searches, crumb paths and frequently asked questions end up at these teams directly.

2. Trial and error is important: learn by repeating many times
Trial-and-error means errors! So don't be shocked if you actually encounter problems with the launch of an MVP ecommerce platform. The good thing about an MVP is that you encounter these errors at an early stage and can resolve them quickly.

3. Aim higher!
There is a 10X rule: regardless of the goal you want to achieve, it probably costs 10 times as much energy than expected. And no matter how high you set the bar, it is better to set the bar 10 times higher and the result is probably a lot better than you had predicted.

4. The right software
A platform stands or falls on the technical foundation. According to the B2B ecommerce trends for 2019, more and more entrepreneurs with an ecommerce platform prefer a headless frontend CMS. The frontend (which visitors see online) is hereby separated from the backend (all background processes that the visitor does not see). Virto Commerce offers such a separate ecommerce module that is very suitable for B2B e-commerce platforms. And with a separate frontend (headless CMS) you also make your MVP ecommerce platform feature-proof. If you outgrow your ecommerce platform or the CMS, you only upgrade what is needed.

5. Don't wait too long
Don't worry if your MVP does not yet have all the cool animations you desire, all functions or if there are minor imperfections. Think about the valuable feedback you receive when your platform is online. So don't wait too long with launching your MVP; only from that moment onwards you can you actually start perfecting; based on real feedback and not suspicions. Of course, with the launch of an MVP, you must already include various tools that contribute to generating insights into how the website works. This way you get an answer to the question how your platform meets the needs of the target group.

Are you interested in launching an ecommerce platform and do you want to receive feedback from users at an early stage? rb2 has a lot of experience with greenfield projects; where we start a project from the idea in someone's head. We work in sprints and with tools that speed up the deployment of code so that we can launch an MVP quickly. This way we help customers to test whether the developed functionality meets the wishes of end users in reality. Contact us to discuss how we can help you as a technical partner with the launch of your ecommerce platform.

Do you want to know more about Mark?

As a People Manager, Mark moves from office to office. Thanks to his experience as a Delivery Manager, he knows the ins and outs of Scrum and offshore working. He currently strengthens the management team with his focus on 'People and Processes'.

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